Friday, October 23, 2015


I am an HR manager for my company, which is a great job that I love doing, but it does on very limited occasion cause me to travel. This year I got to travel to Columbus and then to Baltimore for Open Enrollment. Because I fly Southwest (have to take my body pillow with me and I can check a bag for free), and I wanted to fly non-stop, and I wasn't sure how Open Enrollment and traffic would be, I scheduled my flight home on Saturday evening.

The flight to Columbus was good. I did my work and made it back to Columbus on time.The flight to Baltimore was on an older plane and not as smooth as my earlier flight. Once in Baltimore I was greeted by this sign:

Just slightly terrifying.

I got my rental car after being sent to a slot that was empty, and headed to the hotel. Alone, except for mapquest on my phone. I finally figured out why I feel so lost in the East. There are no landmarks. There are trees. Lots and lots of trees. Trees are not landmarks. Seriously. They all look the same. If I had not had mapquest on my phone I would not have even made it to the hotel. After driving through deer infested parts of the city (seriously, I saw more deer in that fifteen minute drive then I have ever seen in Colorado driving anywhere), I managed to find the hotel. I was tired and cranky. A trip I thought would take two hours ended up taking twice that long because of flying and baggage claim and rental cars. I was hungry and not very happy when I was told the restaurant was closed. Thank goodness the kitchen was open until 11 or there might have been blood on the walls. I ordered room service.

See? Proof I was in Maryland.
(Those are crab cakes for you uncultured peeps.)
The cocktail sauce was awesome, but the tartar sauce tasted like mayo.

The next day I drove to Bear, Delaware. That was pretty much a straight shot north, but did involve $17 in tolls, which BTW you must pay in cash. Even though I asked before leaving the hotel and was told they take cards. They do not. Cash only or the silly little box on your windshield. The drive home was only $8. Drove the same roads. I'm so confused.

I got back to Baltimore by dinner and drove into the Port Deposit district. I was expecting to meet an old friend at the Four Seasons bar for drinks and then we would find dinner. She shared directions to a fairly inexpensive parking garage and then I mapquested the Four Seasons to walk there. It was about a mile. I wasn't nervous with walking there in the early evening, as there were lots of people about and it was still light, but it made me uncomfortable to think of walking back alone after dark. Baltimore does not have a real good reputation. However, I consoled myself with thoughts of sharing the walk with a friend and told myself it would be okay.

I reached the Four Seasons early and decided to meander on the boardwalk. I love the ocean and sea going ships and was delighted to take in the sights while waiting for time to pass. I know it's a harbor and there is no surf, but just the smell was enough.

 Port. Harbor. Ocean.
Wrong Ocean but still Ocean.

Then I went into the bar and found myself a seat, picked up a drink menu and nearly swallowed my tongue. Drinks started at $12. The waitress arrived and I ordered a coke, just to have a reason to wait. By six I was still sitting there and my friend was half an hour late. I texted her and waited another ten minutes, then tried to call. A couple of minutes later I received a FB message from my friend. She had written the date down wrong and wasn't going to be able to make it. I was bummed, but paid for my drink ($5 coke) and decided to find dinner. However, because I had been waiting and playing on my phone, I was now in serious need of a battery boost. I decided I should try and find a phone charger before dinner. Thus, I started wandering around the harbor area. 

 Deep water ship. Coast Guard, not Clipper.
One of my deepest fantasies is to own a Clipper ship (outfitted with cannon) and sail the open seas.

I walked through a lot of downtown trying to find any place that carried a phone charger. The Sprint store offered a charger cable and battery back up for $145, CVS was completely sold out, and 7-11 had nothing. I finally decided I should eat before dying of hunger, so staggered my way back to the Hard Rock Cafe. There I ordered Spinach and Artichoke dip (fantastic) and shrimp with fries (mediocre) and stared at the walls trying to figure out how to get back to my car without my phone. Or where else I could visit to see if I could find a charger. (I had both a phone charger and regular charger at the hotel.) I was beginning to feel very stressed about both finding my car and finding the hotel.

I started walking. It would have been smarter to turn around and find the Four Seasons, then work out how to get to the car from there, but I didn't think of that until later. I started from the Power Plant Live! door and wandered around Little Italy and various neighborhoods. I kept checking my phone to see where I was, but I finally realized I was on the right street but my phone had me somewhere else entirely. I found the parking garage, located my car and got in. It was as I had feared. No car charger. I had pulled it out of the luggage, but forgot to bring it with me. I needed to get out of Baltimore and headed toward my hotel with an iPhone that had 4% battery. It lasted long enough to get me out of downtown and onto the freeway, then died. I headed for the airport while I thought about my options. When I got close to the airport, I pulled off on a random exit, found a gas station and bought a charger, then sat in the parking lot until the charger powered up the phone again. That was fun. I got back to the hotel and fell into bed exhausted by my adventure.

Saturday morning was a morning that I have been looking forward to since I realized I would be traveling to Baltimore. I got up early, jumped in the car and headed east. I got just a little lost (and was completely enchanted by one lane bridges) before I finally found the right place, followed the truck up the road and . . . 

Saiph and I on a bridge in Frederick.
It was so good to meet her in person. 

The pastures at Saiph's barn. And surrounding countryside.

We actually met at the barn, but we didn't get any pictures of our first meeting. We did get to give each other a big hug and I'm pretty sure we were both holding back tears of joy at finally being able to meet. The barn and surrounding fields were incredible. It defies description.

More fields and fences and sheeps and horses.

I got to meet Gracie, the Blond Bombshell.
She is a very sweet horse. And obviously loves Saiph very much.

And then there is the Frankenhorse. 

After Saiph gave me a tour and showed me all of the things she really likes about her boarding situation. Her barn is fantastic and although the facilities don't include an indoor, the place is really nice. I helped her with unwrapping, treating Lily's face and rewrapping the mummy horse. 

Then we saddled up Gracie and walked over to the outdoor arena. 

Saiph and Gracie dancing together

Saiph let me ride Gracie!!!

We were doing her gait: the rack.

Me on Gracie.

As I was riding Gracie, Ashke could feel a disturbance in the force.
This was his response.

Riding Gracie was interesting. I have never ridden a gaited horse before and it was an interesting experience. Gracie was awesome and listened to me very well, trying to figure out what I wanted her to do. The motion of riding a gaited horse is very different from riding a not-gaited horse. I wasn't very good at it. However, it gave me a great appreciation for the connection I have created with my boy and how far I've come in learning how to ride him. I didn't ride for long, since I didn't want to ruin Saiph's horse, but it was a good ride.

Saiph took her out of the arena and Gracie was almost like a different horse. She definitely loves being out of the arena as much as Ashke does. Watching Saiph ride her was like watching them dance together only with Saiph on her back. Saiph rode like a centaur on Gracie. It was obvious from watching them that Saiph is incredibly good at riding a gaited horse. I figure it means that she is the most comfortable riding a horse similar to Lucero, her childhood horse. I think I could learn to ride a gaited horse but Saiph rides without thought. On the most instinctive level. They were incredible together.

After our horse time, we drove into Frederick and met up with Charles. We did lunch at Saiph's favorite Cuban restaurant (Yummy tostones and sweet plantains!) then wandered down to the creek that flows through the center of town where we got photographic proof we met.

She is family to me.

She seemed pretty happy to meet me too.

After wandering the town briefly, Charles had to get to work and I had head to the airport. We said our goodbyes and after another incredible hug, I headed back to Baltimore.

I dropped off the rental without any issues, left my wallet at security when I checked through and then thank the Universe for wanting to buy T a souvenir, since that prompted me to try to locate said wallet. Boarded the flight and sat next to a Southern Baptist Preacher man. He is black and lives in Battle Mountain Nevada (yes, I do know where that is and it is not very big) where he preaches in the church there. We had an interesting conversation about Same-Sex marriage, legal rights versus religious rights, abortion, books, kids, insemination, him being 10% Irish and me being some small percentage of black, tartan and kilts. It was an interesting trip, for sure. I think we both took something away from it. 

At the airport I grabbed my luggage, located my car and headed for home. Blasted through a 30 mph speed trap (seriously, the speed limit drops from 50 to 30 for two blocks and then back up to 45) at 50 mph and received my very first ever (I've been driving for 39 years, yo) speeding ticket. The officer apologized for having to give me the ticket and for the speed trap. Finally, I made it home where I was attacked by two frantic dogs who couldn't believe how long I was gone.

It was an adventure but I made it home safe. And more importantly, I got to meet Saiph in person.


  1. I was beyond thrilled to finally meet you and get to HUG you in person!! I might have told everyone and their brother that I was getting to *meet in person* one of my best friends. I wish we could have spent more time together but that just means you'll have to come back. ;)

    I think the best way to explain a gaited horse's way of moving is to ride it. :D I'm glad you enjoyed Gracie so much. She's turned into such an awesome horse. And you wouldn't have ruined her by riding longer; you did a great job with her! :) Loved the video of the groundwork! Next time we'll take you out on the trails. It's a completely different experience!

    Aren't one-lane bridges adorable? I fell in love with them too the first time I encountered them.

    So happy that your trip ended well and that I could be a part of it. Thank you for taking the time to drive all the way out here from Baltimore so we could meet up. <3 Can't wait to see you again!

  2. So so so thrilled for you two!!!!!!